Sending appeals throughout the year can improve online donations

The majority of nonprofits that accept donations online send appeals to their donor database at the end of the year because this is when they can maximize revenue. Nearly one-fifth of online revenue comes from donations made in December, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. 

People tend to give more in December because they haven't contributed during the rest of the year or because they have additional funds in their charitable giving budgets, The Fundraising Authority said. Nonprofits send end-of-the-year fundraising appeals because they can maximize this source of revenue. Typically, appeals are sent to the current donor database rather than first-time contributors. 

While sending appeals in December can help nonprofits achieve a strong finish for the end of the year, there are some challenges to writing a strong message. As online donation forms gain popularity and compose a more significant source of revenue for organizations, many nonprofits are sending appeals through email rather than direct mail. 

There are a number of email functionality problems that could prevent donors from making gifts at the end of the year. If messages have formatting issues when displayed on different devices, donors may not take the time to read the appeal. More people are accessing their inboxes from smartphones and tablets, so it's important for organizations to test their emails before sending them, according to Philanthropy for All. Additionally, organizations can detract from the effectiveness of an appeal campaign by sending the message to the wrong list or not customizing appeals. First-time donors can be encouraged to give at the end of the year, but it requires a different communication.

Spacing appeals throughout the year improves online donations
Many nonprofits are ramping up their online donation strategies, and waiting until the end of the year to send appeals could cause their messages to be lost with communications from other charities, The Chronicle of Philanthropy stated. In many cases, giving is highest in December because it's when organizations choose to send appeals, not because people plan to donate. As online giving becomes more popular, people who support charities may receive too many emails at the same time, and they won't be able to support every cause. 

Organizations that mix up their fundraising strategies throughout the year may be able to maximize their online donations. Some nonprofits operate within a fiscal year, which is why June is the second highest month for donations, the source said. Asking during off-peak times of the year can lead to increased online revenue. 

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